West Bend man is making waves with a new knee
Like many guys
in their mid-30s,
Jeff Szukalski, a
West Bend business
owner, leads an
active lifestyle –
hunting, exercising at the gym. Jeff,
however, is 52. And earlier this year he
underwent knee replacement surgery.
“I’m guessing that I’m back to my mid-
30s as far as activities go and how well I
feel doing them,” Jeff said.
Joint replacement can turn back the
clock when other treatment options
have been exhausted. “We pursue
conservative, non-surgical measures
until they are no longer effective,” said
Timothy Mullin, MD, Froedtert Health
Medical Group orthopaedic surgeon
who is fellowship-trained in knee and
hip replacement. He performed Jeff’s
procedure at Froedtert Health St.
Years of injuries and wear and tear
took their toll on Jeff’s right knee,
starting in 1977 when a snow skiing
accident required surgery to repair a
torn ligament and meniscus. Two other
surgeries followed to correct a second
ligament tear and clean up scar tissue
and cartilage damage.
Although Jeff remained physically active,
he was hurting. “The pain was very bad,”
he said. “I would have to take several
ibuprofen tablets twice a day to keep the
When Jeff came to Dr. Mullin in 2011,
it was evident why he was in so much
pain: Jeff had a severely deformed knee as
a result of post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
Dr. Mullin prescribed non-surgical
measures, including anti-inflammatory
medication, ice and exercise first, then
“Jeff’s pain became a debilitating factor,
significantly limiting his quality of life,
and that was when we talked about
surgery,” Dr. Mullin said. Because Jeff’s
knee was so severely damaged he was not
a candidate for partial knee replacement.
Dr. Mullin performed a total knee
replacement in March 2012.
Jeff said that he prepared months prior
to surgery by exercising his muscles
to strengthen them. After surgery,
he successfully completed rehab at
the Froedtert Health West Bend
Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine
Center. “Therapy was everything; it
did a great job of getting my movement
back in my knees, so that I was able to
bend and straighten normally,” Jeff said.
“I was back at work walking around
without a walker after three weeks, and
was barefoot skiing in two and a half
months.” Most important, he’s painfree. “I have a ton more energy because
waking up and being in pain every
morning was tiresome.”
Knee replacement surgery can
dramatically improve everyday quality
of life, according to Dr. Mullin.
“Ultimately, our goal is to get individuals
back to the lifestyle they enjoy,” he said.